Frankenthal, the valley of the Franks

image The name derives from the fact that the kings of the Franks enjoyed hunting in this valley. Legend has it that King Dagobert hid in the cave which now bears his name. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, the high pastures, the head of the valley and its slopes came into use for animal husbandry.

It is quite likely that the stock breeders inhabited the area during the summer. From the start of the 17th century this farming was very intensive, but the numerous succeeding wars caused the high pastures to be abandoned, and many were subsequently no longer cleared.

From the second half of the 18th century, the growth in population forced the inhabitants of the Munster valley to re-develop animal husbandry. As the grassy uplands had been taken over by the Lorrainers, the Munster valley livestock breeders had to regain many pastures.

image After the French Revolution, the dairy farmers continued to increase their pasturage with intensive tree clearing.

During the 19th century, industrialisation (in the form of textile factories) led to a decline in the number of country dwellers. In 1910, an avalanche caused a great deal of damage to the dairy hut, which was rebuilt in 1930 on its current slightly higher site. During the First World War, the livestock was decimated and the high pastures of the Munster valley were once more deserted following the forced evacuation of the inhabitants.